Who is Tarun Tejpal? A journalist, a thinker or an astute businessman who owns and runs a business empire of at least eight companies despite incurring losses year after year.
Tejpal’s flagship firm Anant Media Pvt Ltd that publishes Tehelka weekly news magazine incurred losses of `13 crore during the 2011-12 fiscal and yet in the same year he floated another firm Thriving Arts Pvt Ltd that would own and operates an elite think tank Prufrock at GK-II, New Delhi.
Only Thinkworks Pvt Ltd that organises the annual THiNK fest in Goa made profits of `1.99 crore by the end of last fiscal.
Interestingly, none of Tejpal’s investors claim they ever had anything to do with journalism or the “social issues” being raised from Tehelka’s platform rather they claimed that any investments into any of Tejpal’s ventures is purely a business decision and to make a quick buck and exit at a suitable date.
Rajya Sabha member KD Singh told HT that all his investments into Tejpal’s ventures have been purely business decisions. “Ultimately we wish to exit from the ventures at a suitable date,” he said. Singh’s group firm Alchemist holds 50% stake in Royal Building & Infrastructure that in turn holds 65.75% in Anant Media Pvt Ltd.
The larger question that still remains unclear is if Tejpal’s ventures keep incurring losses how and why will an investor pump in cash?
“It is not so simple. All these losses shown on the account books are mere eyewash. How can the Chadha Group pick up 1% stake in Tejpal’s new venture Thriving Arts Pvt Ltd at `1,800 a share when the face value of each share is only `10?” asked Anil Goel, a chartered accountant.
"Chadha Group is a group firm of the controversial liquor baron Ponty Chadha who also owned Wave Industries--a real estate firm. Ponty Chadha was killed last year, yet the Chadha Group has decided to stay invested in Tejpal's firm. Wave Industries did not comment on its investment in Tejpal’s new venture.
Manoj Kumar a senior advocate added that most of the firms under Tejpal’s empire exist only on paper.